(for Natasha Hood)



We will never know the names

of all the constellations:

geometry conspires against us

in complicity with the gods.

The universe is to remain

as it always has been,

essentially mysterious.


Only Eve was ever given

the gift of naming things;

and she fell from Eden

in a comet blaze of fire,

scattering knowledge

into the blank recesses

of the universe,

leaving a myriad mysteries

unnamed and untamed.

“So be it,” said the gods,

for this is how

it was always meant to be.


*        *        *        *


When you stare at the stars with me

let them be as mysterious

as only mysteries can be,

let us revel in our ignorance,

delight and dance

in frosted breaths of wintry clarity,

for who can afford

to expend themselves

in the knowing of things

but the dull and weary?


If I say I love you

do not ask what I mean,

let my love be a dazzle

that hides its depths

in a thousand surprises,

for even in the most mundane moment

I aspire to rise above familiarity.


If we shake off the shackles of knowing,

we might be allowed

to bite into the sweet citrus skin of wisdom. 

If we please the Gods,

if we be as little children,

if we astound them with our love of living,

then will they drop their manna

from heaven.


*        *        *        *


Orion can have his belt and braces,

his arrows and his spears.

He can hunt down forgotten meanings

and set his dreadful snares,

but he is condemned to stillness

and slowly burning out

in a universe too cold to care. 


You and I, with our trousers round our ankles,

are free from gravity’s predilections:

free as any bird of paradise or falling star.


We need nothing

and we need know nothing,

but the precious and imprecise beauty of being. 


We are here and now;

and there is no other place or time

I would want to be.







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